Friday, February 27, 2015

My Memories of Mr. Spock

It was many years ago I was in Grade 1 or preschool, perhaps. That's why I do not remember clearly. We used to play in the beautiful garden yards of Farhad School and I recall kids calling each other on their imaginary radio: Kirk, from Spoke! Kirk from Spoke! Can you here me? This was of course before the Islamic Diarrhea Revolution and I barely remember the series but clearly remember its lovely soundtrack and scenes with William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelly as the doctor, the Black woman, Nichelle Nicols but don't remember any story as I was very little. 
Yes. Star Trek used to be shown in the old country under the title of The Pioneers of Space! Was it as popular as it was in North America? I have no idea. I might talk to Mom about that but I know they were not into TV very much. I remember though that there was a channel called International Channel where we used to see mostly American cartoons, series or movies but again I vaguely remember things because of my age at the time. 
Nimoy with his Vulcan salute that is said is originated from a Jewish salute or gesture, Nimoy's parents were Jewish Soviets who immigrated to the States.
Leonard Nimoy, one the two main characters of the original Star Trek died today at the age of 83. I read just the day before or yesterday that he had been transferred to a hospital due to health problems. I guess Nimoy and in general Star Trek came to the attention of public recently when Sheldon Cooper, the character in popular TV sitcom The Big Bang Theory and other fellas repeatedly refer to him and cherish them. I traveled to Town of Vulcan last April to see its Trek Center but it was closed due to early season arrival of mine. Nimoy who portrayed Mr. Spock in Star Trek presumably was half Vulcan and half human but that's as far as I know. For years I wanted to see both the original series and the main movies made based on the original including Wrath of Khan but never did. So much to do and so little time! Maybe I should start soon! 
A replica model of Enterprise spaceship installed in Town of Vulcan, Alberta supposedly the birthplace of Mr. Spock or his native planet.
(Photo, top of the post: A plaque welcomes visitor to Town of Vulcan in Southeastern Alberta where I visited last April and I will again when I get another chance to visit the Trek Center and take more photos)

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Roll Up the Rim to Win

Tim Horton's has this Roll Up the Rim to Win contest every year for a few weeks. I have never taken it seriously because first of all I'm not a Tim Horton's fan and second of all I hate gambling. Nevertheless I have won a few doughnuts and such in the past and this year too. I have tried twice only this year and that because of the introduction of their new coffee, the Dark Roast
The amount of crushed paper cups normally increases during this contest's period. Apparently people buy the coffee with the hope of wining something big and get nothing and through the damn cup away! But Tim Horton's coffee shops are normally crowded so I don't know what the frustration is about. You normally pay for the breakfast and now you have a chance to win something and you're upset because you didn't win?! Grow up! 
(Photo: A garbage can in Crowchild Twin Arenas where we go normally on Sun., afternoons for skating. This is alway fun and it was today as well. I happen to see this bin and took the photo of lots of disappointment!)

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Footprints in Snow

I had planned to go to Kananaskis for a short hike this weekend but when I woke up in the morning and checked the weather, I learnt there had been a snowfall warning for the region which warns of up to 15 cm of the snow. So I decided to cancel the trip. 
I went to Bowness Park instead and did a little walk towards the west side of the park where this Valley Ridge Gold Course is located. That was not a very impressive walk but at least I checked out a neighbourhood that I had not been to before. 
This look like a bear footprint to me but I could be wrong. Any idea? Maybe a wolf, fox or coyottee?! 

This is a set of four slightly impressions and you would find the next a meter ahead of this. Rabbit? 

Obviously a bird and a confused one! A magpie maybe as there are plenty of them in Calgary
Bow River Pathway in facts ends there and instead of the usual sign you see this Calgary Pathways sign and you hit the golf course. I crossed to the course and of course there was no one in there but I feared their cameras and being charged with trespassing! We'll see! 
On my way I saw a few footprints of different animals that you see them here. Then when I was going back to the parking lot, I walked on the river's bank and that was a bit tricky because I had to get very close and walk on the ice and there was the risk of breaking the ice and falling in the ice cold waters of Bow River. Luckily I managed to pass and get myself safely to the vehicle after almost 2 hours of walking and photography. 
(Photo, top: This is the edge of the ice which was partially broken. at the banks of Bow River. It is more than a foot thick)

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Surfing in Calgary

Can you imagine you can practice surfing in Calgary, even in winter?! You don't have to travel to Caribbean or Australia. The fact is it has not been a serious winter so far. 
I was on Bow River Pathway last week for a walk and saw these two guys by 10th St. Bridge. In fact I had seen people at the same spot a few month ago but that was July or Aug. but the warm winter has encouraged people to do this activity in the ice cold waters of  Bow River. Some don't even dare touch the water!
(Photo: This is the moment that the surfer is able to stand on his feet on the board. You can see a giant slab of ice in front of the scene. This was just shortly after 16:00 hours)

Monday, February 16, 2015

Family Day at the Olympic Oval

We have started a new Skating course more than a months ago and although we both like our previous course's instructor, we are enjoying this course as well. This year the Oval is a bit busier which is both good and bad. It's good for the business but at times it get's very crowded but has not affected our practice and learning very much.
A huge crowed was at the Oval today but the majority of them were spectators, mostly family members who were there for Pizza and Pop by Papa John's and a big number of beginners who just wanted to post their photo in skating gear to their Facebook page! 
We realized that free skating would be held this Family Day at the Oval when we attended our class last week so we went there today. We were there at about 12:30 and that's the time we started and apart from a few breaks we were active until almost 15:00. There was a 15 minutes break for everyone to let the Zambonis ran on the tracks. It was a busy they there were lots of beginners and posers but that didn't bother us too much. I maneuver between the people and enjoyed the fastest ice in the world. It truly was amazing we had lots of fun. We even practice backward for a while and enjoyed ourselves. 
(Photo, top: posters of Canadian speed skaters, national, provincial, world and Olympic champions on Olympic Oval walls)

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Useless Statutory Holidays

Christmas and New Year is usually a good time of the year for trip if you have planned well ahead. I'm not talking about lazy sunbathing or such idiotic vacations. There are other place in the world that you can go and enjoy there weather and sightseeing while it's all frozen up here. I've never had that chance though during all these years I lived in Canada
For years I was a slave in High River and then got out and became a servant of A. J. for little over a year. That was when I even bought my ticket to go to Boston to see my friend but he forbid me too! I was an idiot to listen to him! Then I became broke and struggled even for my daily expenses! And now after a few years of break, which I never used any opportunity, I'm about to go back to the same shit situation I was with the economy going down such as a fast elevator! 
This passed Christmas and New Year I had a total of 12 days off, I guess, or something like that but was stuck here. There's a statutory holiday coming next week and one will be in the first week of April but they are useless although I get 3 to 4 days off considering the weekends. 
I checked almost everywhere and faced snow, cold, rain and shit like that. I remember we had a short trip last year to Glacier National Park in British Columbia not Montana but it was all cold and wet we didn't enjoy much. 
I guess I'm just going to make short trips or stay in the city and make myself busy with different things. It's good that I won't have to go to that shithole and seeing the retards that I have to put up with everywhere but I hoped at least I could go somewhere and enjoy a hike or so. 

Friday, February 06, 2015

Finished Reading No one Ages in Magadan

I finally finished this memoir by late Dr. Ata Safavi, called No one Ages in Magadan and the reason why I finished it fast, of course, was because the book is in Persian. Before going to any detail I should say that I am completely disappointed both at the guy who is claimed to be the author and the late doctor. I give the book 1.5 out of 5 stars. I have written about the book previously but it was before I read it and based on the available videos on the web. I need to point briefly here that Ata Safavi was a supporter or member of Tudeh Party of Iran, a pro-Soviet party in the country which was active before the WWII days to mid 80's, during the WWII days in northern province of Mazandaran, Iran who intended to immigrate to the former Soviet Union with the hope that he could help his own people to come out from poverty and misery that the ruler of the country had imposed on them for years (Pahlavi Dynasty, the first King).
They travel to the most northern part of the country and intend to cross in to where is known as Republic of Turkmenistan today but before even reaching the border, actually a few ten meters from the borderline, Soviet guards arrest them, take them to the other side and accuse them of unlawful crossing to Soviet Union! With that in place the guys later are taken to the court and sentenced to 2 years imprisonment and labour. He works in a brick factory (not The Brick!) a very physically challenging work where he suffers daily. This is a job for only a few grams of bread and a stable-like sleeping spot. Then the catastrophic earthquake of Ashkhabad happens (1948) which destroys the city completely and many die but he survives. He then faces a new challenge: He and his buddies are now accused of espionage for Iran and the US and he suffers more as a result of long, nightly interrogations and beatings. They deny the allegation but are not able to prove their innocence and all sentenced to 25 years to labour camps of the former Soviet Union or better to say Stalin Hotel! From there he is separated from his buddies and sent more than 10,800 Km away to eastern Russia, a small town called Magadan to work in Coal mines. He and all of his friends plead innocent and dispute the sentence at the time but that does not give him much. His sentence then would be reduced to 10 years in labour camps.
This is the first part of the book and this separation is by me. Neither the intelligent author nor the narrator has done this. In fact what these two guys did was the doctor wrote him letters based on what had been left in his mind and this idiot, called Atabak who lives in Sweden, took them to a publisher and get them published without any edit or effort at all! The other thing you realize shortly after he starts his story is that he nags constantly about whatever happens to him. I have not read many memoirs and I understand this is the story of someone’s life who suffered a lot in the notorious labour camps of the former Soviet Union but would you shut up and finish the damn story already?!
His story from beginning smells fishy! If he intended to go the Soviet Union to study and learn a better life why didn't he apply through their embassy? This was due to the Soviet propaganda conveyed to them through Tudeh Party, according to him. This nagging is continuously bugs you throughout the book in a way that even the author complains about it but he instead of doing a little edit and separating the useless parts from the useful parts, just sits still and waits for the money to come to him, the poor bastard! Then the story reaches this stage that Stalin dies and the majority of the prisoners are forgiven. He struggles to leave North Pole, as he indicates repeatedly but manages to get himself a bit further south to another town where he is helped by K. G. B. to get a job and stays there for a little more than a year. The book lacks a structure and for an emotional guy like Ata, it is extremely difficult to follow a certain path, tell a story and moves on to the next time period. He loses the track of the time and at times mixes the events and dates. At each and every stage he indicates that this part of story requires a separate book to be told because he has so many things in his mind that he cannot organize and categorize them. This actually is the job of the author to sit with the narrator to help him to get this organization done but obviously he’s a jerk who has no clue as what he has to do. I read a big part of It Doesn't Take a Hero and although its a complete different type of story you see a structure that the whole story is based upon. 
Anyways the next step in his life is moving to Tajikistan and while many prisoners leave the country to go back to their homeland he stays in Dushanbe and goes to the medical school to become a physician. He continuously calls the former Soviet Union the Stranger-Killer Country but instead of going back to Iran and continues his life in there, stays in Tajikistan and according to him starts the medical school, again, I insists and repeat here, with the help from K. G. B.! What a jerk conspirator! Although he never provides any reason as why he decides to stays he indirectly states that he believed he should get something from this country that had taken everything from him, most importantly his youthful! He accuses many others to be K. G. B. informants but never states whether he had to give anything in return to the K. G. B. for letting him stay in the country!
There are so many contradictions and incorrect information in the book, particularly after he finishes working in the coal mines of Magadan and that increases throughout the second part of the book. There were pages that I passed quickly without reading through mainly because he basically nags and complains without telling the story and brings poems! One thing I have in mind is although these books of labour camps and Gulag and such are old now and there are many available in the market, maybe I should translate and edit the book and make it ready to be published. I came across a similar book the other day called Within the Whirlwind which a movie has also been made based on that although not a very famous one. Maybe I read the book to see if the prisoner who was Russian woman nags as much as this conspirator or not and then make a wise decision!
(Photo: This map shows where town of Magadan is located in Russia. Someone apparently loves it!)

Thursday, February 05, 2015

A Very Good Camera

The other night was waiting at the light and saw a car driving very fast and passed the intersection. As soon as he crossed the pedestrian crossing two huge flashes illuminated the whole area! I immediately realized that the installed camera at the intersection had detected the speed and taken a photograph. The stupid driver realized the same because I saw its brake lights blinked but that was too late! He would receive a ticket at home soon! 
Regardless of the above, there are many speeders in the city and it's very surprising that CPS cannot so much, even in Downtown that their presence is not bad. Is is lack of crew or something else. I know a camera such as that must be expensive but in long term it will pay itself off! 
(Photo: A speed camera installed at a busy intersection. The one that I witnessed operating is not even half of this buy but people mostly speed on that road because it's one way with not many intersections and is steep. So people are tempt to speed!)

Wednesday, February 04, 2015

Premier's Reaction to Disastrous Economy

It was announced last week that the Primer of Alberta, Jim Prentice has suggested a percentage cut of the Government employee so it be a bit of help to the economy. While I see nothing wrong with, some miserable whining guys started telling that's a gesture which would not help! The total saving is some $600,000 which I don't think it's bad. I really don't understand what is wrong with some that they think they should criticise everything and oppose to almost anything. The new Primer started his job late last year after the dishonest woman, Redford resigned. 
I believe if everyone in the province could save somehow, for example drink less fucking alcohol, smokes less cigarette and weed or walk a bit more instead of driving even if they want to go to the next street's supermarket, part of the problem, would be automatically resolved but you can't expect these from a society which greed, over-consuming and individualism are values!
(Photo: Jim Prentice is the 16th Primer of Alberta)

Monday, February 02, 2015

APEGA's Long Hibernation

I regularly check APEGA website to see what's new although I've lost all my faith in the organization after seeing so many incompetent so-called Professional Engineers! 
There was just this announcement that the new applicants of the title now need to provide a proof of proficiency in English language. Applicants only needed to submit a hand-written letter to APEGA and that's what I helped Newlywed with! He hasn't gotten his title yet. He's a true ass and even if he gets that, it wouldn't change anything. 
It's stated that the individuals need to submit a TOEFL or IETLS result. This for sure is not enough but it's a good beginning step. 

Sunday, February 01, 2015

All the Elbow River Parks

With the temperature going back to normal winter cold, I decided to have a little walk/run today and for that reason I went to the banks of Elbow River this time, more specifically in the neighbourhood of Mission. Just across from Safeway supermarket where Elbow Drive and 4th St. collide, there's a bridge over Elbow River and different parts of the river's bank natural area are named differently. There's a set of stairs at the right side of the bridge which takes you down, by the river and that's where it's Elbow Islands Park. If you walk by the river and in opposite direction you will see a pedestrian bridge which was destroyed during the June-2013 Calgary Flood and has been recently replaced with a new one. A sign has been put on the top part of the bridge gate at both sides which is read: Rideau Park. You turn right from the bridge's end and here's a neighbourood with luxury big houses and continue where after a short walk by the river you find another sign which reads; Stanley Park
I was walking there and as I'm always looking around, I noticed a giant bird on a tree a few meters ahead of me. My original though was that it would be an Eagle because it was way bigger than the normal size bird you see in a city and then I said: What's an Eagle doin' here?! But when I got closer it appeared I was right. I tried to catch a shot with my small camera although I knew it would not look so good. When I got closer it flew while being escorted a smaller bird. I have seen something like this before once when we went to Eagle Lake near Startmore: A big bird and a small one together but those one where fighting and over there surprisingly the smaller one was after the big one! Here the same scenario but they seemed to enjoy each other's company. No fighting! Then I realized that the Eagle joined another one and then both flow away from me and I never saw them again. That was amazing! 
Altoght much cannot be seen clearly in this photo, the size of bird and its white head clearly shows its a type of Eagle. I have to get a good lens for the damn camera, the Cannon one of course. This with no doubt is much better than what I got in Squamish!
I carried on walking until I reached Elbow Drive at another intersection and then decided to go back. I was on my way back and having the peace and quiet of the neighbourhood, I noticed a light knocking on the woods and I immediately realized it must have been a Woodpecker! 
I was it was a beautiful Hairy Woodpecker taping on an old tree's trunk. I was able to take a few shots with my small camera and then left it alone with its tapping and went back toward where I had parked the vehicle. On the way I decided to run part of the way which was not too bad in that sub-zero temperature. I reached the car in nearly 14 min. 
(Photo: Utilizing the digital zoom of the small Sony Cybershot, I got this Woodpecker tapping on the wood. Had I have my big camera one me at the time, the story would have been different!)